'Changing attitudes with a little imagination': Imagined contact effects on young children's intergroup bias
AbstractThe current research tested a recent development in social psychology, namely „imagined contact‟, among young children (n = 123, 5 to 10 years). Children imagined interacting with a physically disabled child, or did not take part in this activity (the control group). Compared with the control group, children who engaged in „imagined contact‟ subsequently showed reduced intergroup bias in their general attitude and ratings of warmth and competence. Imagined contact also led to more positive intended friendship behavior towards the disabled, but only among 5 – 6 year olds. This provides partial support for our hypothesis that younger children, perhaps as a result of their lack of outgroup experience, are more likely to benefit from imagined contact. Implications for the development of attitudes towards the disabled, imagined contact theory and the development of classroom-based prejudice-reduction techniques based on imagined contact are discussed.
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